|NYI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
The Carolina Hurricanes have vowed for a month to fix their penalty killing unit. Heading into 2008 it’s still in need of major repair.
The Canes put together an entertaining first period on New Year’s Eve, then fell apart in the second, allowing three power-play goals en route to a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
Carolina embarrassed the Islanders 8-3 on Oct. 27, but it was a different story on this night as New York chased John Grahame with three goals over a span of 3:39 early in the second. Two of the goals came on the Islanders’ power play and in lightning fashion – 16 seconds into a slashing call against Rod Brind’Amour and 41 seconds after a holding penalty to Mike Commodore.
“We’re giving up so many easy power-play goals,” said Brind’Amour. “They don’t really have to work for them, it’s just back to the point and slap it into the net. It’s just frustrating. We’ve got to do better than that and find a better way to get it done.
“We’ve got to be more confident,” added Brind’Amour. “You get in a rut and start getting real uptight and you’re not making the little plays and you’re not going for it and you’re not being loose. And you’re got to be creative when you’re killing penalties, too.”
Craig Adams closed the gap to 3-1 32 seconds after the Canes fell behind by three goals, but the Islanders victimized Cam Ward for their third power-play goal of the period with 7:40 left as a frustrated Carolina squad took five minors in the second to none for New York.
“We were flat,” coach Peter Laviolette said of the second period. “The first five, seven minutes cost us. We lost battles right off the bat, battles to get it in, battles to protect the puck. We took careless penalties. Both penalties – there was no need to either one of them.”
It wasn’t like the Islanders were hot coming in to the game on the power play, having gone just 1-for-19 over their last six games before scoring three times with the man advantage for just the second time all season.
Meanwhile, Carolina, last in the NHL on the penalty kill and last at home, allowed three or more power plays for the sixth time.
“The penalty kill is comprised of a lot of little things,” Laviolette said. “The shots came from the middle of the ice and we should have had a person there blocking all of them. And there were other things that wrong as well – a bunch of little details.”
Each team failed on their lone power play in a scoreless first period. But Carolina had the better scoring chances, especially late when the Eric Staal line registered four great chances in one 45-second shift alone, bringing the RBC Center crowd to its feet for a standing ovation for the effort.
The Canes head into the New Year still in first place in the Southeast Division, but need to pick up the pace following a 6-9 mark in December.
“The good thing is we haven’t played well for a whole season and we’re still sitting there,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s kind of strange. But our special teams are definitely going to have to pick up.”
“We’ve been having great games, and then not so good, we’ve been so up-and-down,” added Staal. “We’ve got to regroup again and look forward to the next game. We are still first in our division, but to win the big prize we need to be playing better hockey than we are right now and we know that. We’ve got to get better.”
Carolina remained four points ahead of Atlanta and Florida, who are tied for second at 39 points.
“We’ve let it slip,” Laviolette said. “We’re still sitting there. That board in the room is sometimes misleading or deceiving. There are teams below us that have more points than we do. We’ve been fortunate because other teams in our division are doing the same thing we’re doing. We’ve passed up a golden opportunity to put distance between ourselves and the rest of the teams in our division. That’s frustrating and disappointing at the same time.”
NOTES: Matt Cullen returned after missing two games with a concussion but left again after the first period after feeling ill. … David Tanabe remained sidelined with his head injury, missing his sixth game. … Grahame started for the fourth time in the last eight games, going 2-2 … The Canes fell to 2-4 in home New Year’s Eve games. … Staal saw his seven-game point streak end, while Whitney’s six-game streak also ended
|PPG - Marc-Andre Bergeron (5) ASST: Josef Vasicek (7), Trent Hunter (12)|
1 - 0 NYI
|PPG - Bill Guerin (13) ASST: Mike Comrie (19), Marc-Andre Bergeron (8)|
2 - 0 NYI
|Ruslan Fedotenko (7) ASST: Andy Hilbert (5), Tim Jackman (3)|
3 - 0 NYI
|Craig Adams (2) ASST: Mike Commodore (6)|
3 - 1 NYI
|PPG - Marc-Andre Bergeron (6) ASST: Mike Comrie (20)|
4 - 1 NYI
|Glen Wesley Hi-sticking against Andy Hilbert|
|Josef Vasicek Hi-sticking against Craig Adams|
|Rod Brind'Amour Slashing against Miroslav Satan|
|Mike Commodore Holding against Ruslan Fedotenko|
|Craig Adams Hi-sticking against Freddy Meyer|
|Erik Cole Slashing against Mike Comrie|
|Eric Staal Hooking against Brendan Witt|
|Chad LaRose Roughing against Sean Bergenheim|
|Sean Bergenheim Kneeing against Dennis Seidenberg|
|Sean Bergenheim Roughing against Chad LaRose|
|Andrew Ladd Slashing against Ruslan Fedotenko|
|Andy Sutton Hooking against Ray Whitney|
|Josef Vasicek Delaying Game-Puck over glass against Craig Adams|